On Wednesday afternoon, though, there were glimpses of a candidate who could connect with voters as he disclosed a more personal side, one that’s rarely seen during his campaign events.I expect to hear more in this vein.
He spoke about counseling the unemployed through his work with the Mormon Church. He said his religion is an “unusual religion in a number of respects,” because of the rotating minister program Mr. Romney participated in as a volunteer for roughly a decade.
A second note about the submerged Mitt: in a much-cited column, E.J. Dionne highlights the extremism of Romney's current tax and spending plans and exhorts the media not let Romney use Santorum's extremism on social issues as a foil to cast himself as a moderate. It's quite true: take Romney at his word, and he would radically cut taxes for the wealthy while increasing defense spending, necessitating the shredding of the safety net he says he'll "fix."
But to press his point, Dionne forecloses without discussion on Matt Miller's claim that "everyone knows Romney is basically a pragmatic centrist." It's true that no one should be sanguine that he will govern as such, given the commitments he's made. But it's also true that in his only experience in office, Romney raised substantial new revenue, sought state-level stimulus spending, and expanded the social safety net in a unique, game-changing way. Furthermore, while he has failed to specify the tax expenditures he would close out to make his tax plans revenue neutral, making them revenue neutral is as much a campaign promise as cutting rates.
Romney has proved uncommonly willing to reverse past positions and commitments. With a Republican House and Senate, he would have no excuse or motive to do so. But if he presides over a divided government, we may yet see a partial resurrection of moderate Mitt.